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Why Black America Fears the Police

| March 8, 2015

An impromptu memorial in the New York subway for Akai Gurley, killed by police in Brooklyn in November, and for Eric Garner,  killed in July on Staten Island. The officer responsible for Akai's killing was indicted on a manslaughter and other charges. The officer who killed Garner was not.  (Lauren Giaccone)

An impromptu memorial in the New York subway for Akai Gurley, killed by police in Brooklyn in November, and for Eric Garner, killed in July on Staten Island. The officer responsible for Akai’s killing was indicted on a manslaughter and other charges. The officer who killed Garner was not. (Lauren Giaccone)

By Nikole Hannah-Jones

Last July 4, my family and I went to Long Island to celebrate the holiday with a friend and her family. After eating some barbecue, a group of us decided to take a walk along the ocean. The mood on the beach that day was festive. Music from a nearby party pulsed through the haze of sizzling meat. Lovers strolled hand in hand. Giggling children chased each other along the boardwalk.


Most of the foot traffic was heading in one direction, but then two teenage girls came toward us, moving stiffly against the flow, both of them looking nervously to their right. “He’s got a gun,” one of them said in a low voice.

I turned my gaze to follow theirs, and was clasping my 4-year-old daughter’s hand when a young man extended his arm and fired off multiple shots along the busy street running parallel to the boardwalk. Snatching my daughter up into my arms, I joined the throng of screaming revelers running away from the gunfire and toward the water.

The shots stopped as quickly as they had started. The man disappeared between some buildings. Chest heaving, hands shaking, I tried to calm my crying daughter, while my husband, friends and I all looked at one another in breathless disbelief. I turned to check on Hunter, a high school intern from Oregon who was staying with my family for a few weeks, but she was on the phone.

“Someone was just shooting on the beach,” she said, between gulps of air, to the person on the line.

Unable to imagine whom she would be calling at that moment, I asked her, somewhat indignantly, if she couldn’t have waited until we got to safety before calling her mom.

“No,” she said. “I am talking to the police.”

My friends and I locked eyes in stunned silence. Between the four adults, we hold six degrees. Three of us are journalists. And not one of us had thought to call the police. We had not even considered it.

We also are all black. And without realizing it, in that moment, each of us had made a set of calculations, an instantaneous weighing of the pros and cons.

As far as we could tell, no one had been hurt. The shooter was long gone, and we had seen the back of him for only a second or two. On the other hand, calling the police posed considerable risks. It carried the very real possibility of inviting disrespect, even physical harm. We had seen witnesses treated like suspects, and knew how quickly black people calling the police for help could wind up cuffed in the back of a squad car. Some of us knew of black professionals who’d had guns drawn on them for no reason.

This was before Michael Brown. Before police killed John Crawford III for carrying a BB gun in a Wal-Mart or shot down 12-year-old Tamir Rice in a Cleveland park. Before Akai Gurley was killed by an officer while walking in a dark staircase and before Eric Garnerwas choked to death upon suspicion of selling “loosies.” Without yet knowing those names, we all could go down a list of unarmed black people killed by law enforcement.

We feared what could happen if police came rushing into a group of people who, by virtue of our skin color, might be mistaken for suspects.


“My chance to tell you that a substantial portion of your fellow citizens in the United States of America have little expectation of being treated fairly by the law or receiving justice.”


For those of you reading this who may not be black, or perhaps Latino, this is my chance to tell you that a substantial portion of your fellow citizens in the United States of America have little expectation of being treated fairly by the law or receiving justice. It’s possible this will come as a surprise to you. But to a very real extent, you have grown up in a different country than I have.

As Khalil Gibran Muhammad, author of The Condemnation of Blackness, puts it, “White people, by and large, do not know what it is like to be occupied by a police force. They don’t understand it because it is not the type of policing they experience. Because they are treated like individuals, they believe that if ‘I am not breaking the law, I will never be abused.’”

We are not criminals because we are black. Nor are we somehow the only people in America who don’t want to live in safe neighborhoods. Yet many of us cannot fundamentally trust the people who are charged with keeping us and our communities safe.

As protest and revolt swept across the Missouri suburb of Ferguson and demonstrators staged die-ins and blocked highways and boulevards from Oakland to New York with chants of “Black lives matter,” many white Americans seemed shocked by the gaping divide between law enforcement and the black communities they are supposed to serve. It was no surprise to us. For black Americans, policing is “the most enduring aspect of the struggle for civil rights,” says Muhammad, a historian and director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York. “It has always been the mechanism for racial surveillance and control.”

In the South, police once did the dirty work of enforcing the racial caste system. The Ku Klux Klan and law enforcement were often indistinguishable. Black-and-white photographs of the era memorialize the way Southern police sicced German shepherds on civil rights protesters and peeled the skin off black children with the force of water hoses. Lawmen were also involved or implicated in untold numbers of beatings, killings and disappearances of black Southerners who forgot their place.

In the North, police worked to protect white spaces by containing and controlling the rising black population that had been propelled into the industrial belt during the Great Migration. It was not unusual for Northern police to join white mobs as they attacked black homeowners attempting to move into white neighborhoods, or black workers trying to take jobs reserved for white laborers. And yet they strictly enforced vagrancy laws, catch-alls that gave them wide discretion to stop, question and arrest black citizens at will.

Much has changed since then. Much has not.

Last Fourth of July, in a few short minutes as we adults watched the teenager among us talking to the police, we saw Hunter become a little more like us, her faith a little shaken, her place in the world a little less stable. Hunter, who is biracial and lives with her white mother in a heavily white area, had not been exposed to the policing many black Americans face. She was about to be.

On the phone, she could offer only the most generic of suspect descriptions, which apparently made the officer on the other end of the line suspicious. By way of explanation, Hunter told the officer she was just 16. The police called her back: once, twice, then three times, asking her for more information. The interactions began to feel menacing. “I’m not from here,” Hunter said. “I’ve told you everything I know.”

The fourth time the police called, she looked frightened. Her interrogator asked her, “Are you really trying to be helpful, or were you involved in this?” She turned to us, her voice aquiver. “Are they going to come get me?”

“See,” one of us said, trying to lighten the mood. “That’s why we don’t call them.”

We all laughed, but it was hollow.

My friend Carla Murphy and I have talked about that day several times since then. We’ve turned it over in our minds and wondered whether, with the benefit of hindsight, we should have called 911.

Carla wasn’t born in the United States. She came here when she was 9, and back in her native Barbados, she didn’t give police much thought. That changed when she moved into heavily black Jamaica, Queens.

Carla said she constantly saw police, often white, stopping and harassing passersby, almost always black. “You see the cops all the time, but they do not speak to you. You see them talking to each other, but the only time you ever see them interact with someone is if they are jacking them up,” she said. “They are making a choice, and it says they don’t care about you, it tells you they are not here for your people or people who look like you.”

Carla herself was arrested at a young age—because she was present when her cousin pushed through a subway turnstile without paying. The teenagers were cuffed, thrown in a paddy wagon, booked and held overnight. At 15, Carla, then a student at The Dalton School, a prestigious private academy in Manhattan, had an arrest record.

That experience, along with many others, informed Carla’s decision on July 4.

“I am a responsible adult, but I really can’t see having a different reaction. Isn’t that weird?” she told me. “By calling the police, you are inviting this big system—that, frankly, doesn’t like you—into your life. Sometimes you call and it is not the help that comes.”

“So, no, I wouldn’t call the police,” she said. “Which is sad, because I want to be a good citizen.”

I moved to the historic Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn in 2011. Before then, I had been living in Portland, Oregon, and when I chose my new home in the gritty big city, it was partly because it was only a block away from a police precinct. That proximity made me feel safer—I figured crime would be less common with so many police nearby. Inadvertently, however, I also picked a prime target area of the city’s stop-and-frisk program—a system of policing that caught so many innocent black and brown men in its dragnet that a federal judge found it unconstitutional in 2013.

My block is fairly typical of Bed-Stuy. My neighbors, until recently, were all black and included everyone from laborers to college professors. Both immaculately kept brownstones and boarded-up townhouses line my street. We have block meetings and a community garden. Police are a constant presence, speeding down the street to the precinct or walking the beat. Sometimes, I escort my daughter to the store underneath police watchtowers with tinted windows that pop up around the neighborhood with no warning, then disappear just as suddenly—their entire existence ambiguous yet alarming. I have witnessed from my window, countless times, police stopping someone, usually a young man, who is walking down the street. These men are often searched and questioned as they go to the bodega or head home from work or school.

A few months ago, a police officer approached my neighbor as he was leaving the bodega and began questioning him. My neighbor is quiet and respectful, but he also is poor and transient. He tends to look disheveled, but the worst thing I’ve seen him do is drink beer on the stoop.

Ferguson's echoes. (Shawn Semmler)

Ferguson’s echoes. (Shawn Semmler)

When he asked why he was being stopped, the police grabbed him and threw him to the ground. As someone recorded the incident on a cellphone, police shot my neighbor with a Taser gun and then arrested him.

He was never told why police stopped him. The only thing they charged him with was resisting arrest. But this arrest cost him his job and a fine he will struggle to pay. If he doesn’t pay, a judge will issue a bench warrant, and instead of preventing crime, the police will have created a criminal.

Across the street and a few doors down from me, my neighbor Guthrie Ramsey has his own story. Guthrie was born in Chicago and grew up in a family that did not emphasize the obstacles their children would face. “I was socialized to believe that the police were our friends,” he said.

Yet one night, some years ago, while driving his teenage son to a soccer game, Guthrie was pulled over by police. Within minutes, he and his son were sprawled on the ground, with guns drawn on them. The police believed Guthrie fit the description of a suspect. Guthrie, a short, easy-going guy with a contagious laugh, managed to point the police to his University of Pennsylvania faculty ID. That’s right: He’s an Ivy League professor. And a noted musician.

“It was so frightening. It was humiliating. You get so humiliated that it’s hard to even get to the anger,” he told me. “You just don’t get to experience interactions with the police as a garden-variety circumstance.”

These types of stories in black communities are so ubiquitous as to be unremarkable. If my husband is running very late and I cannot get hold of him, my mind does not immediately go to foul play. I wonder if he’s been detained.

This fear is not unjustified. Young black men today are 21 times more likely to be shot and killed by police than young white men. Still, it’s not that black Americans expect to die every time they encounter the police. Police killings are just the worst manifestations of countless slights and indignities that build until there’s an explosion.

Since 1935, nearly every so-called race riot in the United States—and there have been more than 100—has been sparked by a police incident, Muhammad says. This can be an act of brutality, or a senseless killing. But the underlying causes run much deeper. Police, because they interact in black communities every day, are often seen as the face of larger systems of inequality in the justice system, employment, education and housing.

In the months since Ferguson, many pundits have asserted that black Americans deserve this type of policing, that it is a consequence of their being more likely to be both the perpetrators and victims of violent crime. “White police officers wouldn’t be there if you weren’t killing each other,” former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani argued on Meet the Press as the nation awaited the grand jury decision in the Michael Brown shooting. It should be noted that Giuliani oversaw the NYPD during two of the most notorious cases of police brutality in recent memory, the sodomy of Abner Louima and the death ofAmadou Diallo, who was unarmed, in a hail of 41 bullets. Both were black men.

What Giuliani was saying, in essence, is that law-abiding citizens deserve to be treated with suspicion because they share racial traits with the tiny number among them who commit crimes.

Black communities want a good relationship with law enforcement because they want their families and property to be safe. After all, it is true that black communities often face higher rates of crime; in 2013, more than 50 percent of murder victims across the country were black, though only 13 percent of the total population is. But it’s also true that crime reduction efforts by black people in black communities have contributed to the recent, historic drop in crime across the country.

So why are black Americans still so often denied the same kind of smart policing that typically occurs in white communities, where police seem fully capable of discerning between law-abiding citizens and those committing crimes, and between crimes like turnstile-jumping and those that need serious intervention?

“You can be protected and served,” Muhammad says. “It happens every day in communities across America. It happens all the time in white communities where crime is happening.”

During the height of the “Black Lives Matter” protests, a mentally ill man shot and killedtwo police officers a few blocks from my home. I lay up that night thinking about those two men and their families. No one wants to see people killed. Not by police, not by anyone. The next morning, my husband and I took food and flowers to the grim brick precinct right around the corner from us that the officers were working out of when they were killed.

The officer at the front desk did not greet us when we came in. And he looked genuinely surprised by our offering, his face softening as he told us we didn’t have to do this, but thank you. That people who should be allies somehow felt like adversaries troubled me.

The next day, I drove by the precinct on my way to the store. It had been cordoned off with metal barricades. Two helmeted officers stood sentry out front, gripping big black assault rifles, and watching. The message felt clear.

They weren’t standing out there to protect the neighborhood. They were there to protect themselves from us.

Nikole Hannah-Jones has covered civil rights and fair housing for ProPublica since 2011. Previously, she covered governmental issues, the census, and race and ethnicity at The Oregonian. For more of Nikole Hannah-Jones’ work on race and inequality in the nation’s schools and neighborhoods, see School Segregation, the Continuing Tragedy of Ferguson.

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21 Responses for “Why Black America Fears the Police”

  1. Sherry Epley says:

    What an admirable essay and a noble effort . . . thank you Nikole!

    Hopefully the examples you’ve cited of the stark injustices that are all too commonplace in every state in the USA will move the hearts and minds of at least a few of those who are filled with fear and prejudice in our local community. The human species is sadly lacking in our acceptance and love of one another, and the judgemental and bigoted attitude of too many of our police cultures “should be” completely unacceptable to each and every one of us. . . as “civilized” human beings.

  2. tomc says:

    It is all about behavior, not racism.

    • Nancy N. says:

      You can tell yourself that all you want to help yourself sleep at night but it doesn’t make it true.

  3. TBG says:

    So long as police misconduct is considered worrisome only when inflicted on blacks, I as a white person will care not.

  4. Pierre says:

    So if say a fireman somewhere at some point for some reason offended you in some way you would naturally refrain from calling them when your house caught on fire? To sit back and call all Law Enforcement dirty because of the act of an extemely small percentage is as ignorant as the man who bought a slave!

    • John Smallberries says:

      When other officers look the other way or literally protect the offender because of thin blue line horseshit, they are just as culpable as the one that committed the offense.

    • Joy says:

      I agree fully. You want to break this cycle, stop the behavior. Call the police, force their hand to act. Follow up on the case, etc. Stop acting like the “white” America owes you something.

  5. anon says:

    But when a black man kills a white man it goes unnoticed, this is a crock of . . . .

  6. David S. says:

    anon I happen to agree with you but I feel that everyone should be treated equal and a lot of small town police departments like the one in fergusion need to be disbanded or at least need looked at by the DOJ.

  7. Johnny Taxpayer says:

    The author raises a lot of good points, but her article, like so many others, focus on symptoms, not root causes. We can focus on what police do wrong all day long (and we should), but if that’s all we do, nothing will change. The root cause of the problem is a culture that claims black lives matter, but only when those black lives are ended at the hands of a white or “white Hispanic” man. The root of the cause is a culture that encourages young black males to impregnate and abandon as many women and children as they can, instead of shaming that behavior. The simple fact is the number one cause of death for young black males in our country, is young black males. All other causes of dearth combined, do not come close to number of young black males, who murder other young black males. Do those lives not matter? Do the lives of black children abandoned by their black fathers not matter?

    The author states “young black men today are 21 times more likely to be shot and killed by police than young white men”, that’s probably true, but unfortunately the reverse of that is just as true, and just as tragic, police officers killed in the line of duty, are many times more likely to have been shot by a young black man than anybody else.

    How does the author propose to solve the problem, if we’re only concerned with symptoms?

    • Nalla C. says:

      How is the culture perpetuated? Is it something that you think the author has any control over?

      I would say that the media and their picking and choosing of what stories to blow up and what stories to ignore drives a lot of “culture”. The rest of it, such as your claim that there’s a culture “encouraging young black males to impregnate and abandon as many women and children as they can”, in particular, is not borne out by any facts that are any more or any less germane to the author’s claim that there are American police slaughtering citizens and going completely and totally unpunished.

      So please, let’s try to focus on that and stop trying to muddy up this discussion. What Nikole is talking about here is not just “symptoms”, she also is very clear about the actual problem, too. To repeat, the actual problem iis that cops are shooting to kill as a FIRST RESORT. And they are NOT being punished for doing so.

      Right now, this disproportionately affects people of color. Will you wait until it affects people of YOUR color before you decide what she clearly lays out here is more than a symptom? I sure hope not, because your time is coming, if you continue to brush it off or blame it on something else.

      • Johnny Taxpayer says:

        Facts are color blind! It is a fact that the #1 cause of death for young black males is young black males, it is a fact that young black males are many times more likely to father illegitimate children than any other demographic, it is a fact that when a Police Officer is murdered in the line of duty, that murderer is many times more likely to be a young black male than any other demographic.

        The media handpicking stories is a symptom. As tragic as it is, the “shoot first” mentality of Police Officers is a symptom, and that these symptoms disproportionately affect people of color is probably the ultimate symptom, but it is still symptom. Until black lives actually matter, until young black male stop killing young black males, and until the nucleus of a family returns to the community, the symptoms will continue.

        One might inquire why young Asian males don’t face these same symptoms? Less than 60 years ago we rounded them all up and locked them in interment camps because they were Asians, yet they don’t seem to suffer from the same symptoms… why is that? Could it possibly have anything to do with the fact that the number one cause of death for young Asian males is car crashes as opposed to murder at the hands of another young Asian male or that Asians tend to focus on family and education instead of how many baby mommas one can acquire?

        Keep focusing on the symptoms and nothing will change.

        • Nalla C. says:

          It is NOT a fact that “there’s a culture “encouraging young black males to impregnate and abandon as many women and children as they can”.

          It IS a fact that the “shoot first” mentality of Police Officers is the problem, it is not “a symptom”. It is THE problem. You may continue to deny that all you like, but in my humble opinion, that means you are–tragic as it is–in serious, serious denial.

  8. What's Happening says:

    Please listen to what Nikole is saying–it is NOT just about “behavior”. It is, to a certain extent about racism. But let me tell you something else, this is not limited to people of color. Not anymore. Depending on the infraction, white folks are starting to have this happen to us as well. Look no further than that young man in Deltona the other night. Derek Cruice (sp?), a 26-year-old guy who looks pretty damn white in his pictures, was shot and killed in the doorway of his home when a SWAT team was serving a “marijuana possession warrant” opened fire on him.

    Yes, you read that right, a SWAT team, SERVING A WARRANT. When did that start happening? I sure hope That Other Newspaper reported that much right, because that’s just insane. And what kind of quantity were we talking about? Roughly 8 ounces, or about 3000-3500.00 USD. That’s chump change. It is. And since when did this become acceptable in the United States of America?

    LISTEN. Just listen. Please, listen!

    Because that ain’t all. Once, about 6 years ago, I was in the happy hamlet of Ormond Beach, on my way to a Biketoberfest gathering when I was pulled over for a minor traffic infraction (my tag was expired). The officer decided he smelled pot, and the K9 was called. I remained calm and respectful, yet I was threatened with a tasing. I was not–was not–disrespecting or yelling or smart-mouthing or “resisting” anything. My only crime was asking–in the grown-up manner which grown-ups tend to use when faced with authority–for exactly what I was being detained and what charges, if any, were imminent. Not only did that question go unanswered, I was made to put my hands behind my back, be handcuffed, and then made to squat down and stay that way while they “decided what to do with me”. It was all about intimidation, pure and simple. I was finally released with a citation, a citation containing charges which were ultimately dropped for lack of evidence.

    I’m telling you all this because those of you who sit back all smug, certain this is all about behavior are only half right. People of color have been targets of authority for a good century or so in the USA–our history is replete with it. Believe what you want about that, your history books are not lying to you. But you mark my words, if you think what Nikole is talking about or if you think what Michael Brown or Derek Cruice went through couldn’t possibly happen to you because “your behavior is not lawbreaking”, you had best reconsider. Far too many of you are looking the other way for whatever your reasons are–and frankly, I no longer care what they are, I only care about any of this insofar as you all are very, very wrong to do so.

    When people are being flat-out slaughtered dead by police, for no real good reason, and then NOT BEING HELD ACCOUNTABLE, that is a problem. When people feel like they can’t reach out to authority because some nut was SHOOTING AT THEM, that is a problem.

    I was behaving myself that day in 2008. That cop never smelled pot, that’s why the charges were dropped. But after I asked a perfectly reasonable question and one of those cops decided that warranted an answer like “Honey, I have 50,000 volts on her hip and I am not afraid to use them”–and then let me go not long after–I promise you, the ONLY reason I was let go was the fact that my skin is as white as the driven snow. I’m not stupid. A completely brainless fool could pick that out of a crowd at a hundred paces, it was that obvious.

    So please, folks–listen to people trying to explain to you that there is a problem in this country right now with our police forces. Because if you don’t, and a loved one of yours–who might happen to be as white as me–is shot dead by a cop, don’t you dare come crying to me. Because people are trying to tell you before you have to live it like they do–like I DID.

    Open your eyes and ears and stop rejecting it out of hand. If it can happen to them, it can happen to you. And if we all don’t band together to stop it now, IT WILL happen to you.

  9. Sherry Epley says:

    Well said “what’s happening”. . . our divided society is looking the other way and blaming each other while our country is slowly becoming an actual “Police State”. The media drumbeat of the fear factor has Republicans blaming Democrats, blacks blaming whites, and whites blaming blacks and illegal immigrants (like the Europeans that founded the USA) for all the problems plaguing our country.

    Meanwhile, the police culture generally is moving away from “protecting and serving” to a much more offensive culture of automatically assuming every person of color is a dangerous criminal. In addition, as the proliferation of firearms continues at an alarming pace, the police are forced to gear up their own weaponry just to keep pace with the civilian population. Logic would tell any “thinking” person that police actions against citizens will not be limited to people of color.

    This combination of a more and more militarized police culture, focused on using deadly force, in conjunction with ingrained fear and hatred of anyone “not exactly like me” is eroding our civilization and creating a divided, fear filled, hostile citizenry. One that is so much easier to control by the 1%.

    • Nalla C. says:

      Hear, hear, Sherry Epley! Your last paragraph here is spot-on. I believe with all my heart that “divided we fall”. People need to stop listening to the “dividing” rhetoric and stop reacting to it. There are so many more of us than the 1%. We must unite or we WILL fall. And we will have no one to blame but ourselves.

  10. Sherry Epley says:

    As noted in my prior post, “those filled with fear and prejudice in our local community”. . . as the comments above show. . . how very, very sad! But, unfortunately a common example of the systemic prejudice/racism that is just so ingrained that those who live and breathe that bigotry every day simply choose not to see it in themselves. Many even go to church every Sunday, while carrying hatred of their fellow human beings in their hearts. . . adding hypocrisy to their list of un-Christian attitudes and ways of being. Sometimes I wonder if our culture/society is evolving away from animals at all.

    This from the Huffington Post:
    “the FBI’s annual figures on homicide rates in America repeatedly show that of the thousands of killings in the nation annually only a minuscule number of whites are killed by blacks. The plain fact is that whites are likely to be killed by other whites, and blacks by other blacks. Yet, it’s because interracial killings, more specifically black-on-white killing, is so rare that it lends itself to fear, sensationalism, and hysteria”.

  11. Jim R says:

    A society that worships violence and applauds it’s Governments aggression and illegal wars shouldn’t be surprised when the pigeons come home to roost as Malcolm x said. Police aggression against the poor and people of color will not stop at just those groups, anyone that gives the slightest resistance to an unjust use of authority can become a victim of police violence.
    When the spokesmen for the police shooting of an unarmed person goes on the TV news media and justifies the shooting because the victim resisted as if he deserved being killed and then has the nerve to say that the shooter is doing OK but he’s a little shook up , there is definitely something wrong.

  12. I/M/O says:

    Why is it that people today think what they are seeing is something new. The only thing that has changed today is 24 hour world wide news coverage. As to events nothing has changed. The human condition has not changed. Go to the Brooklyn Eagle Newspaper Archive which in on line and dates back to 1841 New York City and read about the human conditions in New York City over the many past decades.

    What does constantly change in New York City neighborhoods is demographics. It has always been and always will be the “City of Immigrants.”

    Take Nikole Hannah-Jones description above that she moved to “Historic Bedford Stuyvesant.” This was the Real Estate Marketing Advertisement in 1943 for Stueyvasant. . http://www.1940snewyork.com/

    For one to write an article as to the conditions in New York City who obviously has very little knowledge of the history of New York City is simply ridiculous. I must ask has Take Nikole Hannah-Jones ever read the Classic Works of Jacob Riss or looked at his hundreds of photographs as to “How The Other Half Lives” as to those who lived in New York in the late 19th and early 20th Century. That was Income Inequality!” Does she know the history of the notorious 17th Ward Irish Ghetto of the 1850’s to 1880’s. Does she know the massive problems that immigration waves bring into not just New York City but other cities? Not only the crime but the diseases, fires, child labor, no public school system. Does she know anything about the Orphan Trains where an estimated 200,000 orphans were rounded up off the streets of New York City and sent to the Mid West States to live on farms? Does she know any of the hisotry of 19th and early 20th Century Orphanages in New York City? If I asked her what was the “Angel Guardian Home” in Brooklyn would she know. That was the Orphanage that gave children a high school diploma and then sent them out to be the first Teaches in New York City and Long Island Schools.

    Regardless “What is the real problem as to the problem of Black Crime?” The answer is simple. Blacks fear retribution from Black criminals if they cooperate with the Police. They fear that retribution more then they fear the Police. They know full well what “Snitches Get Stitches” means. They have seen first hand or heard the stories of people who had cooperated with the Police get locked in the trunk of a car with 20 to 30 live rats. Most of all they know that today’s criminals are tech savvy and once they have your name they will have you address and your relatives names in a matter of minutes off the internet. So to become a witness and testify in a Court today is a very dangerous thing to do. Police today get very little cooperation as to solving a violent crime. People talk of the “Blue Wall Of Silence” when the real problem is “The I Saw Nothing, I Heard Nothing And I Say Nothing” wall the Police run into everyday as the body bags get zipped up after some poor kid gets shot down in front of a whole block of people.

    • John Smallberries says:

      I think is has more to do with being trapped between two violent gangs, e.g. the ones that operate in the neighborhood and the ones that patrol the neighborhood. Keeping your mouth shut means that you don’t have to be involved with either. The “real problem” is that one of the gangs operates with impunity and suffers no real consequences when one of their members is caught murdering someone, enjoying not only the protection of media and the judicial system but also enjoying the toys that only public money can buy.

  13. Sherry Epley says:

    Thank you Nalla C. . . I certainly agree. . . “UNITED WE STAND, DIVIDED WE FALL!”

    Our media driven, passionately divided Congress and culture puts us in a much WEAKER position on the world stage. This recent debacle with 47 Republicans subverting our President and State Department by their unprecedented communication directly to an adversary is a great example of this disastrous division. . . much to the delight of the 1%, who desire even more power and control.

    Have no doubt, we are all pawns of the 1% who use the media to massively manipulate us. We strive to vote and do the “right thing” for the entire human species, but it is a twisted, unreasonable, illogical game. If we do not STOP marching to the drub beat of fear, hate and paranoia, and put down the guns, and begin to think for ourselves our future lives will be even more out of our own hands and controlled by the wealthy power brokers.

    We should be pulling together against the common enemy. . . and the enemy is the billionaires that are pulling our strings, like puppet masters, at every click of any media connection.

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